Income–well-being gradient in sickness and health
We propose a method of studying the value of insurance. For this purpose, we analyze well-being of the same individuals, comparing sick and healthy years in German panel survey data on life satisfaction. To impose structure on the income–well-being gradient, we fit a flexible utility function to the data, focusing on the differences in marginal utility in the sick and the healthy state, by allowing for a “fixed cost of sickness”. We find that marginal utility of income is higher in the sick state. We use our estimates to gauge the value of sickness insurance for Baily-Chetty type optimal policy calculations. We also show that the income–well-being gradient has steepened over time in Germany and we use the fitted model to characterize this change.
Keywords: life satisfaction, state dependence, risk aversion, social insurance, optimal benefits, sickness absence
- ISBN:ISBN 978-952-209-196-3
- JEL:C13, H55, I13
- Publication in PDF-format